Clueless Law Enforcement Try to Track Down IP Address Users

Among the responsibilities of the non-profit RIPE NCC organization is to hand out IP addresses in Europe. Somehow law enforcement agencies think RIPE can identify the people behind the IP addresses it issues, and other addresses that RIPE has nothing to do with.

The Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre (RIPE NCC) is an independent, non-profit organization that helps support the infrastructure of the Internet.

One of RIPE’s key tasks is to act as the Regional Internet Registry (RIR) providing resources such as IPv4 and IPv6 Internet addresses. Typically these IP addresses are issued to ISPs in blocks.

However, according to RIPE’s transparency report, some law enforcement agencies think that even after they’ve been issued to ISPs, RIPE should know which individuals are using them and how.

RIPE says that during 2012 it received a total of 16 requests to identify the individuals behind IP addresses at a particular point in time. RIPE says it responded by explaining how law enforcement could use “publicly available information” to contact the parties responsible for a resource.

But perhaps most worrying of all, RIPE says it received a request from law enforcement asking them to identify an individual behind a private IP address, such as those used behind routers in the range –

“In response, the RIPE NCC provided information about the difference between public and private IP addresses,” RIPE politely responded.


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